The Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) lab today announced a new partnership program that will benefit academic researchers in Europe. It’s not just that Facebook will work in lockstep with the academics — Facebook will actually be giving out 25 servers powered with graphics processing units (GPUs), free of charge.
“These will be utilized to accelerate research efforts in AI and machine learning. FAIR will also work with recipients to ensure they have the software required to run the servers and send researchers to collaborate with these institutions,” FAIR engineering director Serkan Piantino and research lead Florent Perronnin wrote in a blog post.
Why is this interesting? Because it’s a novel way for Facebook to keep its eye on some of the most promising AI researchers and techniques. Eventually these giveaways could turn into hires for Facebook. And if that does happen, the researchers will already be well acquainted with Facebook’s AI hardware and software. There are certainly other stacks to choose from. With the donations of real gear, Facebook is being proactive.